A response to an unexpected change of role.
When Maelle Gavet accepted a job at Priceline in the summer of 2015, the executive thought she might one day become the travel company’s CEO.
But less than a year later, that path to the C-suite collapsed. Gavet’s boss—Darren Huston, then the chief executive—abruptly resigned in April after a scandal involving an inappropriate relationship with a Priceline pcln employee.
Now, Gavet, Priceline’s executive vice president of global operations, is also quitting the company, she announced for the first time Wednesday at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women NextGen conference in Laguna Niguel, Ca. She’ll be leaving Priceline by the end of this year, Gavet said.
When Gavet was hired, “I was offered to join the CEO [Huston] to actually help him implement a new strategy, where we would transform Priceline into what we would call the ‘experience marketplace’…and that’s an amazing, amazing job,” Gavet said at the conference, “Unfortunately our CEO, the person who hired me, had to leave.”
In Huston’s place, former CEO Jeff Boyd has resumed that role. But Boyd “went back to Priceline’s historical strategy,” Gavet added. Under Boyd, Priceline has abandoned its plans to more closely integrate its various brands with its flagship business, online travel booking site Priceline.com—the initiative that Gavet had been tasked with when she joined the company. “What that meant for me was a much more narrow job and much less operational, and because of that I decided to leave,” she said.
Still, Gavet had words of praise for Boyd, saying that “there’s a very strong business case to be made” for his strategy, which she described as decentralized, forcing Priceline’s subsidiary companies to compete with each other. “Jeff has an amazing track record—he built probably the most successful tech company that nobody has ever heard of,” Gavet said.
Gavet, a serial entrepreneur who started her first company when she was 16, says she’s now interviewing for new CEO and COO positions at firms large and small, including a Fortune 500 company (she didn’t specify which) and a tech startup.